In the 1980s, family life in the Tinworth household was often quite chill on a Sunday. We “took” the Sunday Times, and part of the ritual was dividing up the sections amongst the family. I liked the features sections, my Mum the women's sections and the magazine. My brother was straight in on the Funday Times and he battled with my Dad over the sport.
A newspaper, despite the name, is a lot more than news. And, if you want to build a sustainable, member revenue-driven business you need to understand that. Case in point, the New York Times subscriber growth is down, but the source is shifting:
New subscriber growth was weighted much more heavily this quarter towards non-news products than in any other previous quarter in the company’s history. A record 44% of The Times’ new digital subscribers came from non-core news products, like cooking, games and audio, last quarter.
I remember some snark from one of the many (too many) media newsletters I subscribe to about the NYT putting so much emphasis on games — including hiring an editorial director for them. It expressed a worry about newspaper losing their focus on, well, news. That missed the point: newspapers (and media generally) have always been about more than just news. As audience revenue matures as a business model, you'd do well to think about what connects with your members emotionally as well as intellectually.
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